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Communicating Change to Employees

Communicating Change to Employees

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Published by SnapComms
Most organizational change intiatives fail to meet their objectives. Effective employee communication during change is a critical success factor to organizational change. Find out how to make change communications effective.
Most organizational change intiatives fail to meet their objectives. Effective employee communication during change is a critical success factor to organizational change. Find out how to make change communications effective.

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Published by: SnapComms on Jul 07, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/04/2012

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Snap –
Internal
communications
s
olutions
 
1
 
Tips for
I
nternal
C
ommunicators
 –
Change Communications
Communicating
c
hange
 
Rumors are rife, productivity
s
down and staff are in denial or resistant
!
 
C
hange is a fact of life in business today.
O
rganizations
which resist change risk losing their competitive
edge.
When things are going well, it’s easy to be
come complacent and settle back into our ‘comfort zone’. Butin the business world ‘comfort zone’ often means ‘stagnation’. Senior managers who recognize this knowthat their organisation needs to innovate and improve constantly to stay ahead of its comp
etitors.
Change is a complex process. We often feel threatened by it. But without change we might still be livingin caves. Change can be exciting as well as challenging: it stimulates innovation and creativity
, which is
good for business and good for the people involved.
The people side of change matters. Many organi
z
ations focus on the technical aspects of change. For
example, how can we implement the change, what processes, procedures or approaches do we need?
Buzzwords like ‘process re
-enginee
ring’ and ‘corporate re
-
structuring’ appear to deny human
involvement. But change doesn’t happen in a vacuum: it affects
people
and it is ultimately people
, not
processes and structures
,
 
who
make your business
succeed.
 
So w
hat can we do, as
internal com
municators, to help our organizationsand their people
change
without the drama that so often seems to go hand
-
in
-hand?
 
Ten tips
to
communicate change and minimi
z
e negativity
 1
.
 
Understand the psychology of organizational
change.
Read more
 2
.
 
Think strategically and make your messages clear
.
 
Read more
 3
.
 
Listen.
Read more
 4
.
 
Build engagement
.
Read more
 5
.
 
Get the right message to the right audience
.
Read more
 6
.
 
Communicate, communicate, communicate
.
Read more
 7
.
 
Use the right communication channels
.
 
Read more
 8
.
 
Use story-telling to paint a picture.
 
Read more
 9
.
 
Make it easy for manage
rs
to communicate effectively
.
Read more
 10
.
 
Measure results and celebrate success.
 
Read more
 
 
 
Snap –
Internal
communications
s
olutions
 
2
 
Tips for
I
nternal
C
ommunicators
 –
Change Communications
Understand the psychology of
organizational change 
Don’t let the change curve become a roller coaster
 
 “During times of organizational change, employees can become less productive and question their job
security.” (
Ref 1
).
To manage change well
you
n
eed to understand how employees respond to it and your role in the
process
. While your senior management team will have spent hours analyzing the business and agreeing
the changes they
need to make, most employees will know nothing about the
se changes until you
announce them. Many will respond emotionally. F
or example, they may fear that they will lose their jobor have to take on more responsibilities
. Or
they may become frustrated with the process or
a lack of 
information. An effective
internal commu
nications program will manage these emotions
and encouragestaff to support
the change rather than reject it.
 
There are various formal models (‘methodologies’) available to help you manage change and change
communications. The best
follow
a proven, step
-
b
y
-
step approach which takes account of how peoplereact to change. Choose a
n approach
that suits your company’s culture and
the
type of change you
areintroducing. For more
information on change management models see Appendix A.
 
The
change curve
Employe
es facing change typically move through
the
range of stages shown on the c
hange curve
(
Ref 2)below:
·
 
S
atisfaction (
 “
I
’ 
m happy as I am
.
” 
)
·
 
D
enial (
 “
This isn’t relevant to my work 
.
” 
)
·
 
esistance (“
I’m not having this
!” 
)
·
 
E
xploration (
 “
Could this work for me
?
” 
)
·
 
Ho
pe (
 “
I can see how I
can
make this work for me
.
” 
)
·
 
Commitment (
 “
This works for me and my colleagues
.
” 
).
 
These
stages and the
emotions
staff experience at each stage
are genuine: p
eople need time to grievefor what they are losing
(
or think they are losi
ng)
.
To communicate effectively,
you
need to recogni
ze where your
employees are on the change curve
, the
emotions they are feeling and the issues they need resolved.
 
Understanding this will help you
develop a
communications plan that
supports
staff 
,
aff 
irms
their feelings and move
s
them through to thecommitment stage as quickly and painlessly as possible
. AHS C
ommunications
have built their intuitive change communicate model
basedon this
psychology of 
change
.
It suggests activities to put in place at
each stage.
 
(Ref 3)
Try these Snap Internal Communications tools
 
U
se these tools to
find out where
your staff are on the
change curve
. You will find them useful at the
start of the change too, to challenge staff to think about what lie
sahead.
·
 
Snap Staff Poll 
is a simple online staff survey
. Its format and features ensure a high rate of participation: Snap Staff Poll is quick and easy
-
to
-
use; it
 ‘p
op
s
u
p’ on
staff’s computer
screens,
avoiding their overloaded email inboxes; you can choose which staff you send it to; the survey
includes options for staff to complete it
immediately or
defer it
for later.
Use
Snap Staff Poll
 
to
gaugestaff’s attitude
to
the changes and how well they understand them
.
When they are i
n the ‘comf 
ort
zone’,
challenge them to think about
the changes ahead.
 
 
Snap –
Internal
communications
s
olutions
 
3
 
Tips for
I
nternal
C
ommunicators
 –
Change Communications
·
 
Snap Staff Quiz
is a similar format to Snap Staff Poll
.
Use
it to
challenge the status quo
and
make
employees aware that the organization needs to change
.
This i
s an example of 
a
question you might
include:
“In our changing industry, which will be the most effective way to do business in the future?
 A, B or C?” 
·
 
Snap Shots
interactive
 
screensavers
 
are a
great way to
communicate important
messages withoutbeing intrusive or adding to the email burden. You can target them to specific staff and set them upto play in a sequence that supports your message.
Use a
screensaver
to show the change curve
and
allow staff to click to plot the
ir current mood.These
communications
tools are
useful during the denial, resistance and exploration phases
:
·
 
Snap Staff Poll 
lets you involve staff by asking
them
questions and f 
inding out their views
.Consider letting sta
ff 
respond anonymously for maximum
candor.
 
They
may tell you things theywould never say face
-
to
-face. Every problem you
uncover is a problem
you can address.
·
 
Snap Q&A  
This interactive online
staff forum
tool is va
luable when staff want
quick answers to
their questions (e.g. they are at the exploration stage).
Pop-
up desktop alerts can be automatically
sent to moderators when a question is posted.
Staff will see a quick reply as a sign that your
organi
zation cares
about them. By contrast, a slow reply will fuel dissatisfaction
and anxiety.
·
 
Snap Staff Forum 
lets you set up a secure
,
interactive online forum quickly and
at low cost to
explore ideas. Encourag
e
staff to use it
, to build engagement.
 Alternatively,
they can use it to have
their say or ask questions.
 
If they want to speak out against the change (i.e. are at the denial or
resistance stage
s
) without jeopardizing their future in the organi
z
ation, they can post their
opinions
anonymously. You can measure and grade their comments to
gauge
current feeling in yourorganization.
 These
communications
tools are
useful during the hope and commitment stages:
 
·
 
Snap Staff E-Mag
 is an electronic st
aff 
magazine that pulls together
users’ 
content in a visual way.
 Use it
to profile stories
of success and feature
staff who have reached the
hope and commitmentstages.
·
 
Snap Shots
 
interactive screensavers
 
are a great way to portray a vision of the future and celebratesmall wins in a
n engaging,
visual way.
 

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